March 10, 2012

The Last Shadow Puppets - The Age Of The Understatement

One thing that I kept dreaming about when I was a kid, besides acting on Broadway or digging a hole all the way to Turkmenistan, was being a spy. Man, how I loved my James Bond movies. Shit, they have all the gear: mistery, charm, elegance, hot women, drinking, smoking and a sheer amount of nonchalant coolness that comes only with Sean Connery’s dry accent.

But hey, says somebody from the back of the auditorium, how about writing about some fucking music? I’m sick of your overly long bullshit introductions. How is James Bond relevant to your article? Well, how about this: take all the cool stuff from the movies, mix them gently with ‘60’s themes and influences and the result is The Age Of The Understatement by The Last Shadow Puppets. For this album to come to life, Alex Turner from Arctic Monkeys and Miles Kane from a bunch of defunct, unfortunately unpopular bands joined forces, stimulated by an enthusiastic producer named James Ford( who also plays drums on this album). How could anything wrong come out of this?

Not only does this album have all the cool stuff mentioned above, but it delivers it in a way that it sticks to you for a very long period of time. The atmosphere is very well created and you get immediately sucked in it’s ‘60’s grandeour and mistery. The themes are a bit clichéd, but given the period the album is supposed to represent they could easily be enjoyed. They range from love, nostalgia, resentment to full on hatred, joined by bittersweet and cynical monologues. In spite of being cocky and cheesy in parts, the album doesn’t lack depth, thanks to Alex Turner’s lyrical abilities; he delivers his surreal and tongue-twisting lyrics with ability, often changing the tone of his voice several times during a song.

Instrumentally-wise, it’s simple and to the point: classic guitars, drums, bass, and a violion here and there. The sound is deliciously old-school, with a few modern touches added so that you won’t find yourself buying the album next to your great-grandma. One thing that blew my mind was James Ford’s drumming abilities : fuck me with a broom if I had ever expected James Ford to be such a brilliant drummer. Why aren’t you in a famous band, James? Do you really like being a producer so much that you’re willing to kick away a life of booze, women and fame? Wake the fuck up, man.

No matter how much I like this album, it’s far from being original. I know this might not be a fair thing to say, being a 60’s tribute album and all, but I feel that they could’ve taken it much more farther, touching higher areas instead of limiting themselves to being just another tribute band.

To conclude, The Age Of The Understatement is a well paced, atmospheric ‘60’s carousel you hardly forget. As for the jerk sitting in the back, go fuck a cactus or something.

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